After Before Friday: Week 61 | Tea Towels and Balloons!

AfterBefore Friday Forum is a weekly get together for a bunch of photographers of all skills and abilities to share their processed images and the “magic” behind them. Now hosted by Benjamin Rowe from Aperture64 except for the first Friday each month when Stacy will host the One Photo Focus. Got it? If you want to join in the fun at AfterBeforeFriday, see this link.

Earlier this week I watched a video on “Creative Live”, one of their Photo Week series, about Monochrome Conversion. Hosted by Vincent Versace, he was talking about better ways to create a monochrome image. His point seemed to be that many methods of B&W conversion in Photoshop just get rid of the colour data, leaving you with much less information to make a decent monochrome image from. He showed us how to convert using hue/saturation adjustments. Although I understood exactly where he was coming from, I didn’t quite get how he was doing it, so today I found a step by step guide on MacLife (it refers to Photoshop, so could be used on Windows also) that showed me more simply.  Basically, you create a hue/saturation layer, taking the saturation down to -100 and underneath that create another H/S layer that enables you to adjust colours before they are desaturated.

Anyway, enough waffling on, here is my start image…

tea towels and balloons-before

Don’t get me wrong, I like this image in colour, but I thought it had a reasonable amount of contrast in it and also plenty of different colours to experiment with.

After basic Lightroom adjustments, I opened in Photoshop and created two hue/saturation layers, the first to adjust colours and the second to desaturate.

Screenshot 2015-09-23 13.26.22

The desaturated image seemed a little bland, so I brought the lightness in the blues down to the left to darken the sky and did some gentler alteration to the other colours to try to get the best tonal separation in the image.

Then I added a further H/S layer and changed the blending mode to soft light to increase the contrast.

Screenshot 2015-09-23 13.32.03

Then I added two further layers, one to give it some warm tones by colourising a H/S layer and finally a curves layer to bring out the white of the balloons and cloths.

Bringing me to my final image…

tea towels and balloons-3

I’d love to know your thoughts on this edit and also your views on this process.

For more After Before Friday images and edits, visit Ben at Aperture64.

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After Before Friday: Week 59 | At the end of the pier

AfterBefore Friday Forum is a weekly get together for a bunch of photographers of all skills and abilities to share their processed images and the “magic” behind them. It was the brain child of Stacy Fischer from Visual Venturing and she has been hosting these forums for over a year now.  Unfortunately Stacy has has to step down from the ABF due to other commitments (she is still hosting the One Photo Focus though) and just as we thought it was going to disappear, Ben from Aperture64 donned his armour and did his white knight act, rushing in to save it! So from now on Ben will host the ABF weekly posts, except for the first Friday each month, when Stacy will host the One Photo Focus. Got it?

Anyway, onto this weeks image…

I had this image that I took in a small Dorset seaside town at the crack of dawn. I liked the detail in the sky and the soft light, but as it was still quite dark (and cold!) the foreground was very underexposed, way too dark! If I had thought about it at the time, I could have bracketed the shots or made an HDR image, but I didn’t, so to avoid having to throw away this photo, I thought I’d try brighten it up in Lightroom. I have often found the mouse hard to use when doing small, delicate adjustments so I was extremely happy when, for my birthday, I was given a Wacom Intuos pen and touch tablet. Once you get used to using it (it is way different to using a mouse!) it is fairly simple and intuitive and makes using tools such as the adjustment brush in LR and the selection tools and brush in PS much easier. Although it is suggested that you abandon the mouse altogether, I just can’t quite do this, some things are still easier with a mouse! This image gave me the perfect opportunity to set about testing out the adjustment brush with the pen and tablet.

Here is my image before…

at the end of the pier - before

 

Firstly, I created a graduated filter to start to lighten up the foreground, then set to work dodging and burning  with the adjustment brush and my pen. I found it so much easier to select the areas that I wanted lightening and to work on them, it almost felt like painting on canvas.

After lots of “painting” and playing and a slight temperature increase, I added a post crop vignette. Here is the image after playing processing. I’d love to know what you think.

at the end of the pier - after

And please go and visit the other AfterBeforeFriday images over at Aperture64.

If you want to join in the fun at AfterBeforeFriday, see this link.

 

After Before Friday: Week 57 – Fritillaria

The AfterBefore forum is usually overseen by our trusted and hard-working leader Stacy. However, she is taking a well earned break and Loré from Snows Fissures and Fractures has very kindly volunteered to step in for this week.

As it is a week of “differents” I have attempted to jump out of my comfort zone for a little try at something I wouldn’t usually do, I have turned a photo into a painting. I thought it would be fun to try!

After frequent visits to RHS Harlow Carr I had a selection of floral images and it brought to mind the old style botanical images, similar to the ones you would see in an old text book and you now see decorating notebooks and greetings cards.

Here is my starting image…

Fritillaria

The steps I used to convert this were:-

  • open in Photoshop
  • duplicate layer and add poster edges filter
  • increased the brightness and reduced the contrast
  • added a colour fill layer with a yellowish hue
  • added a texture image
  • added a mask to the layer with the poster edges and painted the flower through it using white as a foreground colour. This was tricky and took ages to get the edges just right, or at least as near as I could.
  • then in a new layer I added some text

Fritillaria-2

I am hoping it looks kind of like a botanical image, I had a lot of fun working with it and it was interesting to try adding textures. I’d love to hear what you think.

Be sure to check out the other ABFriday transformations, being looked after this week by Loré at Snow’s Fissures and Fractures.

And also the “reveal” of September’s One Photo Focus image from Ben Rowe of Aperture64 on Stacy’s Visual Venturing.

After Before Friday – the second year!

Wow! After Before Friday has been running now for a whole year and I joined at week 17, in September. Last week was our anniversary post where we all made edits to one of Stacy’s own pictures in the One Photo Focus post, which has become very popular. This week Stacy announced her decision to make After Before Friday a twice a month event, a OPF on the first week and a ABF on the third week (the schedules are here). These forum posts have been (for me) part of a great learning curve for using Lightroom and more recently Photoshop. Stacy and the other forum members are very generous in sharing their knowledge and encouragement.

A stroke of genius by Loré from Snow’s Fissures and Fractures to publish a gallery last week of her favourite After Befores. So to blatantly copy her idea, I am going to do the same.

Here are some of my favourite After Before Friday images, click on any image to scroll through them.

If you would like to join us in the next year of ABF (go on, its great fun!) then click on this link to see how.

 

ABFriday Week 39: One Photo Focus

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!).  After the success of the 6 month anniversary post, we decided that it would be really cool to all edit the same image once a month… enter the “One Photo Focus” If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

This month our original has been provided by Loré Dumbraj of Snow’s Fissures and Fractures. Loré brings us beautiful images, moody, dark and dreamy, so I was looking forward to working on her image. I was not disappointed, look at what she gave us… OnePhotoFocus2-before   Looking at the image, the parts I wanted to highlight were the statues face and the pattern of circles that the tables were making. Here is what I did…

  • cropped to bring the cherub’s face into the bottom right third and to make it look like he is emerging from a sea of circles
  • increased exposure, temperature, reduced vibrance
  • added split toning to warm it up and balance the effect
  • use adjustment brush to reduce the overexposed area on his shoulder
  • decided to see what it would look like in B&W
  • surprised to see that I liked it better in mono
  • used the radial tool to isolate a circular area including the cherub’s face and a bit of the planter, inverted the mask then brought down the sharpness and reduced the exposure and shadows to create a focal area around his face
  • used heal tool on his eye, they were freaking me out!
  • added vignette
  • ta da!

OnePhotoFocus2       As usual, I’d be really interested to hear what you think. And don’t forget to check out the other versions of this image at Visual Venturing’s One Photo Focus, I can’t wait to see what everyone else has come up with!

ABFriday Week 35: One Photo Focus

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!).  After the success of the 6 month anniversary post, we decided that it would be really cool to all edit the same image once a month… enter the “One Photo Focus” If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

This month our original has been provided by Manal Ali, it is a great street scene of London on a rainy day with the Post Office Tower hiding in the fog in the background.

OnePhotoFocus-before-0050
image courtesy of Manal Ali

 

It has some great colours and leading lines in this image, but I had a lot of trouble with this one. I liked the diagonals created by the wide angle lens, the colours of the lights reflecting in the rain soaked pavements and the red buses with the red echoing around the image.  I was having great difficulty getting the look that I wanted from it, either I ended up cropping out the bits I wanted or loosing the colours. In the end I decided to crop to just one bit of it with the shop front and those great flags in from of it and include a red bus and in the reflection of the glass and the pedestrian. I adjusted the colours so the yellow stars on the flags would stand out and toned down the orange light from the shop. Fortunately the image itself was quite sharp as I have zoomed in quite a bit!

OnePhotoFocus-after-katieprior-0050

 

As usual, I’d be really interested to hear what you think. And don’t forget to check out the other versions of this image at Visual Venturing’s One Photo Focus, I can’t wait to see what everyone else has come up with!

 

After Before Friday: week 33

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!). If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

Many years ago, I did an evening Adult Ed class on photography and in it we did a bit about developing film and processing in the darkroom. I came across some of the prints that I made from this time, there really aren’t many as we didn’t spend a lot of time in the darkroom, but I was interested to see if they would stand being scanned onto the computer. Amazingly, the couple I scanned didn’t look too bad and so I imported one into Lightroom to see if I could clean up the image a bit.

BEFORE
BEFORE

Looking at the picture, it was not quite straight, it has some weird thing going on in the bottom right corner and the traffic sign was rather distracting.

Starburst building - workflow-42

I cropped and straightened the image to remove the light reflections from the bottom right corner and to remove a bit of the pavement in the foreground. I also slightly increased the exposure and reduced the black clipping and the highlights, but the image still felt a little harsh. Seeing as I have been messing about with split toning the past few weeks, I thought I’d try it on this image to softening it slightly.

Starburst building - workflow-41

Going for cyan highlights and brown shadows, I adjusted the balance until I had a warmer, sepia-like tone. It helps make the starburst effect less harsh too.

Then using the clone and heal tool, I removed the sign and cleaned up a few spots in the picture. A post crop vignette and the image was finished.

AFTER
AFTER

 

 

 

Why not go and have a look at the other ABFriday images on Stacy’s blog.

 

After Before Friday: week 32

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!). If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

Orchid-Before
Orchid-Before

This is one (of many) photos I took of this beautiful orchid plant. It was quite hard to get a good shot and really I needed a tripod and better lighting, to get a sharper image, but didn’t have either with me at the time. I took some with flash, which were clearer, but had distracting shadows. This was taken with the light from the window illuminating the flower from behind and no flash. I really like the potential this has, so I may well have to go and buy my own plant and experiment using flash or some form of light manipulation and a tripod.

Anyway, the original image was quite dark as I deliberately underexposed it so as to reduce camera movement, so the first thing I had to do was to increase the exposure. I wanted a high key image so the next step was to bring up the shadows and the black clipping to lighten the whole image.

This is a very simple post this week, but hopefully this will show that if the only option is to handhold the camera with very little available light, it is possible to purposefully underexpose by increasing shutter speed, therefore reducing any camera shake and then “rescue” the details in editing programs such as Lightroom .

 

Orchid-After
Orchid-After

I also converted to black and white using Lightroom and submitted this to Leanne and Laura’s Monochrome Madness. The black and white image can be seen here.

Here is a gallery of all three images. I’d love to know what you think.

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Why not go and have a look at the other ABFriday images on Stacy’s blog.

 

ABFriday Week 31: One Photo Focus

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!).  After the success of the 6 month anniversary post, we decided that it would be really cool to all edit the same image once a month… enter the “One Photo Focus” If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!

This month our original has been provided by the very talented Emilio at photos by Emilio. They are really interesting looking trucks, I love how they are all in some state of decay, but still lined up perfectly. There is such depth in the textures and the contrasty tones are great, so I wanted to take advantage of these.

 

vintage trucks-1
photo courtesy of Emilio Pasquale

 

 

Personally, I’m not sure about the colours, they seem too vivid to me, maybe its because we don’t get as much sun as they do in Nevada so I’m just not used to it! I converted the original to black and white and did some major changes to the contrast and highlight and shadows. Then I used the split toning on the shadows to give them a kind of sepia tone, I thought a vintage feel to the picture would fit in with the subject matter. I cropped it very slightly to remove the tyre marks in the bottom right, the orange rope lost itself in the black and white conversion. I played about with the grey levels to ensure contrast and detail in the sky and also to make the tone of the trucks in the B&W conversion more pleasing.

Here is my final version of Emilio’s trucks, check out the ABFriday One Photo Focus for many more variations, it will be interesting to see what has been created.

vintage trucks-1-2